May 10, 2016

Kip Carpenter
Carpenters Construction Company, Inc

Dear Kip,

I am delighted to offer the following narrative about our two-year long adventure together.

Despite having spent an entire adulthood trying to avoid remodeling a house, when I moved to Tallahassee at the end of 2013, I faced the prospect of not one, but two houses in need of repair, restoration and renovation. Two years later, both are finished, both done by Kip and his team. It is worth detailing this journey, since doing so points out just how strong and resilient Carpenters Construction has been.

House 1 is in the Myers Park historical district, built around 1940 into the side of a hill, with the front (historical section) supported on piers, and the 1960’s addition—an enclosed Florida room with a flat roof —sitting on an uneven concrete slab. My original intent was just to do a kitchen renovation; however, the floor was too uneven to permit installation of ceramic tile. It turned out that the supporting piers were both too few and too short to support the floor throughout the original part of the house. Worse, ineffective attempts had been made in the past to correct progressive sagging, and the plaster and lathe walls—and even the doors—had all required paring and patching on more than one occasion. The kitchen renovation turned into a staged project: jacking the floor, making concrete pads for new masonry supports, and adding sufficient support beams to prevent any future sagging across the width of the house, and then repairing all the masonry cracks resulting from the lifting. Thereafter, the kitchen remodeling could be done, with a new tile floor, custom floor-to-ceiling cabinetry, and new appliances. Kip and crew took each problem in hand and worked out the most efficient means to stage a restoration that simply could not be avoided. The result was a beautifully restored—and level—period house with a spectacular new kitchen.

Having such success in half the house, we turned to the 1960’s rear addition, a screened porch later converted to a fully enclosed space. The vertical wood beams supporting the roof were rotting away, the louvre windows leaked, and the bare slab floor had severe pitch, roll, and yaw across its large expanse. It also abutted the newly renovated kitchen. In the end, we removed the entire structure and its slab, poured a new, reinforced foundation, raised the height of the ceiling (adjacent to the older structure), added a new pitched roof and made a library, master bedroom and ensuite bath with cabinetry matching that of the kitchen. And added a concrete driveway just to be complete.

The result is a house that is completely functional throughout, with a lovely period front that segues into a completely modern kitchen-library-master suite. Despite the very different feel from front to back, great care was taken to make doors, door frames, walls, ceilings and windows, and fittings match. Since the house is intended for me to age in, the design permits every activity to be done on a single level, without stairs or mobility barriers, including a roll-in shower. It is really spectacular.

House 2 is a 1960’s ranch farmhouse above Lake Jackson. It badly needed a new kitchen with some structural alterations, but alterations that had to match the very characteristic materials and finish of the

original house. This required moving one wall and adding ceiling support between dining room and kitchen, while using all original paneling and matching the few additions that were required. As an even greater challenge, we wanted the original cabinetry kept and refinished, even to the point of using the old drawer fronts for new drawers. We also elected to surface the kitchen and its vast new island with monolithic soapstone, which entailed subcontractors coming from a distance to cut and install it. Despite the constraints we placed on both design and execution, the ride was essentially “bumpless” and the result outstanding.

Obviously, there are many other details, altered plans, add-ons (“while you’re at it…”) and compromises. House 1 was so successful, despite Kip’s having to contend with a sub-optimal construction sequence, that we never considered anyone else for House 2. Not only that, but Kip stands behind everything he and his crew do, irrespective of when an issue is discovered. This is the sort of peace of mind cannot be bought. More than being pleased with results, I trust Kip’s abilities, integrity, and counsel. I would not consider anyone else.

Sincerely yours,

Stephen A. Jennings, MD, FACS


A Carpenters Construction Company
P.O. Box 14194
Tallahassee, Florida  32317

Dear Kip:

Diane and I wanted to thank you, and offer a letter of recommendation for anyone considering your services in the future.  Being “local”, we are often asked for suggestions of various trades and services, and we are extremely careful with our recommendations.

Our recent experience with you and your company was simply outstanding.  Undertaking a complete remodeling/renovation of both bathrooms in a 1938 home is a scary and daunting task, but this didn’t faze you in the least.  From our initial meeting, you took our very basic ideas and formulated a comprehensive plan to accomplish what we really wanted.  The end results far surpassed our expectations, and the entire process was virtually “painless”!

All of the vendors that you steered us to were helpful, professional, and provided top-quality products (and installation when applicable).  I would use all of them again.  Similarly, all of your sub-contractors were of the highest quality, and great to work with.  One common thread that ran through our dealings with both vendors and trades folks was an unwavering respect and understanding of your high standards.  Cut corners?  No way, “Kip would never go along with that!”  As the homeowner, it was comforting to hear that type of comment consistently.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention your Aging in Place certification, knowledge and experience.  Your foresight in blending these concepts into our design, delicately reminding us that we wouldn’t be young (we’re 60) forever, really made a huge difference in the final product.  And yet visitors do not even recognize that the remodeling will accommodate the changes we can anticipate in our abilities in the remaining 30+ years we plan to live here!

I could go on and on (as you know, I tend to be long-winded), but will just end with a big “Thank You” for all that you did for us.  A great improvement to our home, and a great investment.


David B. Chapman


Who Is Important In Your Life

I was the Chairman of the Remodelers Council of the Tallahassee Builders Association in 2016.  I was actually a recycled Chairman having been chairman of the group 20 years earlier.  The monthly meeting is to educate, inform, inspire and train Remodeling Contractors in our profession.

One of the things I did at most meetings that year was add something about life, because too many of us, in every profession, can become so focused on work we can lose sight of what’s important in life.

I called it,

View from the Chair
September 2016

Somehow you got into this business to make a living and take care of your family.  Whether that meant just you and the Mrs., or if you found yourself holding a full house, a pair of you and 3 kids; that’s what drove you forward.

Now years later, grinding through your second or third decade have you taken the time lately to remember who was important?  It’s not some stranger who is whining because they don’t have an estimate in 4 days.

Now I don’t recommend taking up a new hobby when you still can’t afford to retire, but 10 days ago I was rewarded for this folly.

My daughter Tiffany, a 21 year old senior at FSU, spent the day out on the water with me, as a birthday present I requested. It was her first time out since I got the boat last year.

And although the day was beautiful, the boat ran great and the food and drinks were fine, we hadn’t caught at thing and it was getting late.

I tried my last spot and, she caught small trout we threw back, then a couple of catfish. I didn’t know she was just warming up until she squealed “daddy, daddy”. Watching the rod almost double over, I knew it was big and hoped it wasn’t another cat.

With just a few tips from dad, ‘keep your rod tip up and move away from that anchor line’, she brought it in a gorgeous, keeper size redfish.

I don’t have words to adequately explain the gratification I got from watching her and the joy we shared.  We both laughed later when she said, “daddy I was squealing like a 10 year old girl.”  It was true.

I know you’ll jump back into plowing through you day, but I hope you might think later about what and who is important in life.  Then plan and take some time to show them, it’s still true.

Kip Carpenter
September 2016

A Story about Attitude

I didn’t write this, but its message is so important I had to share it:

92 year old lady, fully dressed every morning by 8 am, make up perfectly applied even though she’s legally blind, has been moved to a nursing home today.  Her husband of 70 years had recently died making the move necessary.

After many hours of patiently waiting, she smiled sweetly when she was told her room was now ready.

As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator I provided a visual description of the tiny room, including the sheets hung on the window.

“I love it” she said, with the enthusiasm of an 8 year old who had just received a prize.

“But Mrs.___ you haven’t even seen it yet, just wait” I said

“That doesn’t have anything to do with it” she said,

“Happiness is something you decide on, ahead of time

Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged

It’s how I arrange my mind”.

When you change the way you look at things, even if you’re legally blind, the things you look at, change



L.D. & M.D.

Linda and I are pleased to recommend Kip Carpenter and his staff at Carpenters Construction Company for any home renovation project or new home construction. Linda and I are both detail oriented (picky) attorneys who appreciate having a building contractor whose standards are even higher than ours. We also appreciate a person whose word is his bond. When Kip makes commitment, you can be assured that your work will be completed on time, for the price you agreed on.

Carpenters Construction made a complete renovation of two of our bathrooms. Renovation work requires extra care not required in new construction, after all, we were living in the project. All our possessions were exposed to possible damage. Kip and his crew took extraordinary care not to bump furniture, to control dust, to protect carpet and not to scare the cat! We are delighted with the workmanship of the whole project and now that we have been using our baths for two years, we are satisfied that we have a long lasting upgrade to our home.

Remodeling the baths was followed with a new backyard deck and some necessary siding repairs, but we had no idea our next project for Carpenters Construction would be so unexpected. In February a city utilities contractor hit our house sewer line with an earth boring tool and forced sewage water back up into the whole ground floor of our house. I called Kip at 10:30 that morning and by noon he was on site and by that night our furniture was stored and waterlogged flooring was on the way to the dump. Kip himself helped us box books, and other belongings to move upstairs.

Money cannot buy that kind of service and extraordinary dedication to our emergency needs. Kip’s long experience and established relations with his subcontractors was the key to providing us such quick response. His crew put in many overtime hours to get ups back to normal living as soon as possible. The post flood restoration is beautiful. His staff deserves mention. Their pride in working in a first class firm is obvious in the care with which they responded to our needs or concerns. You will be delighted to him them working for you.